The Five Best Things To Come From Social Networking
I remember the first time I heard about Facebook. Back then the only thing even related to social media I had ever known was limited to MySpace, AIM, and Napster, and to an aspiring art major like I was, an internet ‘directory’ sounded the same as The Mars Volta would if it were being mashed through a garlic press. I just had no clue.
And no matter how many times it was explained to me, it simply did not make sense in my head. It wasn’t until I actually got that .edu email address, signed up and—of course—promptly created a super-inappropriate profile photo (which I’m sure you can still find thanks to the wonders of Timeline) that my expectation changed and I finally understood. What I was expecting was probably a mash-up of the Yellow Pages and hotmail turned out to be much different.
And thank God. Since then what social networking has done for freedom of expression and to improve the way we interact is no secret. For one and unlike my own experiences, every high-schooler now knows what Facebook is before college.
Some of these things have been good, some have been bad, but there’s no denying that social networks have changed the way we look at the world and use the Internet. In my mind, the best parts of social networks are those that have helped move the Internet one step closer to what it has the potential to be. These are the things that connect us, enable us to interact with each other, give power to the individual, and the tools that are laying the foundation for a global community.
Being a part of a social network means literally reducing the degrees of separation between you and every other person on that network. This has made it easier than ever to reach anyone and stay in touch anywhere in the world. Again, this isn’t a secret to anyone that uses social networking, but just because it’s obvious doesn’t mean it isn’t great.
2. It Makes the Rest of the Internet Easier
Going along with the above, being connected has its perks. And one of the greatest contributions that social networks have made to the rest of the Internet is with tools such as the Like button, the +1 button, and the FB Connect login. If you’re like me and don’t have a big problem giving info to social networks, then by using these tools the entire Internet shrinks into one sharing tool that eliminates the need to remember a million different passwords.
3. It Allows Everyone to Create the Internet
Social Networking has definitely helped shape what we think of as today’s online community. We haven’t yet fully defined what that community is or what it’s capable of, but social networks have made us realize the importance of user-generated content, and made the power of creation one of the biggest gifts of the Internet.
4. There’s Something for Everyone
When social networking first took off, the pickings were pretty slim. You had MySpace, Friendster, and a few miscellaneous. Facebook brought a better way to organize content and connect people, and social networking has evolved from there. Today, you’d be hard pressed to go online with a particular interest and not be able to find some network or social site, no matter how niche, taboo, or underground.
I’m not going to touch whether or not this is a good thing for the actual users of social networks since I would probably just go off on a tangent about how ads are making social networks less engaging, but there’s no denying that social networks have opened up an unprecedented avenue of communication for brands to reach their customers. We’re talking an improvement of 23% over the industry average, and that’s not even including narrowly targeted campaigns, where we’re seeing an increase of almost 70%.
Each of these points prompts the question, “where do we go from here?” The web is constantly changing and evolving and getting better, but because of a lot of the points mentioned above, we are close to hitting the wall in terms of new areas to branch out into and explore. And we believe a focus on creating community through meaningful relationships and placing equal emphasis on the individual and the group is the next avenue to explore. And OurPangea is the next logical step in that direction.
Social media can unite us.